Sue Bradford is shocked that 25% of people aged 18 to 24 haven’t yet enrolled to vote.
Her answer? Reduce the voting age.
I’m not sure of the logic in this. Without addressing why young people aren’t enrolling, won’t reducing the age just increase the number of young people who don’t enrol?
Regardless of that, there is no compelling reason to reduce the voting age.
One argument for doing so is that people can marry at 16. Those who use that, forget to add that this is only permissble with parental consent.
Besides, marriage is personal. A marriage that goes wrong will have a direct impact only on the couple involved and any children they might have.
That’s sad but the damage is relatively limited, the consequences of bad government impact on us all. There are more than enough older people who are sufficiently ill-informed to impose bad governments on us without adding young people to the enfranchised.
The policies Bradford and her party, Mana, advocate might appeal to young people:
* Lowering the voting age to 16 and including civics education in the school curriculum from primary school onwards.
*Ending youth unemployment by focused Government support for job creation, alongside free access to quality training and education, including trade training programmes for young Maori (and others).
* Abolishing discrimination in the benefit system which sees young people 18 -24 granted less to live on than those aged 25 and over, despite living costs being identical.
* Working towards ensuring that in future graduating students enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.
But while young people might get temporary benefit, they, and the rest of us, would have to pay the long term cost.